Monday, November 03, 2008

Dumbing things down

One of the things I enjoy about Liza is that she wants to know everything, in detail, and she's patient enough to sit through the explanations. It's also sort of maddening when I have to tell her for the 14th time in a week why the road sign at Fitch and Cook is laying sideways next to the road, but at least I'm getting good at that one.

The past few days I've been trying to explain to her about the election, what it is and what it means. Trying to reduce national politics to a level a 3-year-old can understand is, um, interesting. Add to that the fact that Liza has been on a kick where she wants us to describe the appearance of every single person we mention in a conversation, and you end up with a pretty interesting explanation. And when you add in this week's tic - "Tell me more!" - and my relative lack of knowledge about the candidates, and it gets downright strange.

"Well, there are two guys who want to be president, and every grown-up in the country gets to help pick which one gets the job. Each of them believes the government should do different things, so we're supposed to vote for the person whose ideas are closest to what we believe. One of the guys is named John McCain, and he's got light skin and white hair, and he looks kind of old. The other guy is named Barack Obama, and he's got dark skin and short dark hair, and he looks kind of young."

"Tell me more!"

"Um .... Oh, and Obama's ears stick out kinda funny, too."

"Which one is going to win?"

"We won't know until after the election. Heck, we may not even know then."

This morning we spent half an hour looking at election stuff online - she wanted to see pictures of the candidates, and then we looked at pictures of their wives ("Michelle has a pretty blue dress!"), and shots from the debates, and way too many pictures of Joe the Plumber. We looked at a chart that showed trends in predicted election results over the past few months, and we talked about how one line was sort of going up and one was sort of going down, and the higher the line was the more likely that person was to win.

How much of this she understands, I don't know. She asks relatively intelligent questions about what we talk about, so I have to think she's getting at least part of it. I think mainly she's just pissed that she has to miss school tomorrow because of the election ... can't let democracy get in the way of Play-Doh and snacktime, you know.

4 comments:

mlf said...

At that age, we reduced the candidates to the "good guy" and the "bad guy". Made the election very simple, but it also made my mother very irritated.

Anonymous said...

Well, now she can make an informed decision based on a rational frame of mind. She's way ahead of most of the country!

Anonymous said...

I think she just likes it when you talk to her, and learns to ask the kind of questions that will keep you talking to her... I think that this is a good thing.
Mary Ellyn

Kimberly said...

I'll admit it, Morgan can recognize the face of Obama, but for McCain - well I don't know if she'd recognize a photo of him. Yes I'm trying to sway the young eventual voting mind!

Morgan will go in with me and pick Obama for Prez and Kenna will go and push a button for Mike - kinda like many others Mike is still undecided and doesn't think it will have much bearing on his daily life.